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The Military Standard of Living

This Sunday’s Parade magazine features an article entitled “Secrets of Thrifty Families.” It includes the stories of two families who are living well on modest incomes.

For example, the Heinz family of six live on a $58,000 income. The Schenke’s, a family of three, live on just $32,000 each year. Both families clip coupons, but more importantly, they avoid debt and consider reasonable options to high priced recreation and entertainment choices.

What about military families? We have access to commissaries, world class heath care, fitness centers, recreation centers, and many other privileges that come through service. In addition, our pay raises have historically been linked to inflation, so our standard of living has also been protected.

The danger for most military families is that we often fall for a “live for today” philosophy. We have endured so many separations and stresses that we sometimes fall for the trap that we deserve (fill in the blank) and should get it now, while we’re in a position to enjoy it.

As an example, take a look at the parking lot at the commissary the next time you’re there shopping. How many BMWs, Mercedes Benz, Cadillacs, or Lincolns do you see? How many of them do you think are paid for? What do you think the payments are? How much are those families putting away for a rainy day?

I suggest that once you prioritize your life you’ll make better decisions about what’s truly important to you.


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